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Canada's 15 billion dollar contract for sale to Saudi Arabia should be declared null and void for violating International Norms PDF Print E-mail
Justice News
Written by Joan Russow
Thursday, 22 January 2015 10:33
 update  In June 22, 2019, Canada acceded to the arms Trade Treaty, does that mean that Canada has completed the 15 billiom arms trade deal with Saudi Arabia . A deal which would have been prohibited under the Treaty
By Joan Russow
Global Compliance Research Project
Has the Harper government's 15 billion dollar Sale of Arms to Saudi Arabia trumped Harper's willingness to sign and ratify the Arms Trade Treaty.
By Joan Russow, Global Compliance Research Project
January 15 2015
In this 2008 file photo,   General Dynamics' Edmonton facility   celebrates the delivery of the 100th retrofit LAV III (Light Armoured Vehicle) to the Canadian Forces.
In this 2008 file photo, General Dynamics' Edmonton facility celebrates the delivery of the 100th retrofit LAV III (Light Armoured Vehicle) to the Canadian Forces.
In April 2014, in the UN General Assembly,  Canada, along with 153 states, officially voted in favour of the Arms Trade Treaty;  . Many members states of the United Nations  have wondered why Canada has neither signed nor ratified the treaty; they did not wonder why Saudi Arabia, abstained in the UNGA, or failed to sign and ratified.
Currently, 191 states have signed or ratified, Canada and Saudi Arabia have neither signed nor ratified the Arms Trade Treaty 
Membership: 130 Signatories, 61 States Parties as of 1 January 2015 —
Article 6.3 Prohibitions
3.A State Party shall not authorize any transfer of conventional arms covered under Article 2 (1) or of items covered under Article 3 or Article 4, if it has knowledge at the time of authorization that the arms or items would be used in the commission of genocide, crimes against humanity, grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions of 1949, attacks directed against civilian objects or civilians protected as such, or other war crimes as defined by international agreements to which it is a Party.
This article could be contravened by Canada, if Canada sold arms to a state that could be deemed to potentially use these arms to suppress of the civil and political rights of its citizens.
Project Ploughshares has obtained official data that for the first time reveals the exact value of recently awarded multiyear contracts for Canada to supply Saudi Arabia with military
armoured vehicles, noted Ploughshares researcher Ken Epps.
Information obtained from the Canadian Commercial Corporation (CCC) under an Access to Information request shows that two contracts totalling $14.8-billion were awarded by the CCC to General Dynamics Land Systems Canada of London, Ontario during the 2013-14 fiscal year.1
These contracts are unprecedented in the history of the CCC, a crown corporation in Ottawa that arranges back-to-back contracts between Canadian suppliers and foreign governments. Each contract dwarfs recent CCC awards for military exports to other Canadian-based contractors. Together they comprise the bulk of a $15.5-billion military contract total awarded by the CCC during FY 2013-14. As illustrated in Figure 1, this   total is an order of magnitude greater than equivalent annual totals for the majority of years in this century". (July 24 2014,Ottawa Citizen)


Parties and signatories of the ICCPR
  State party
  Signatory that has not ratified
  State party which attempted to withdraw (see below)
  Non-state party, non-signatory


The obligations in the 1976 ICCPR, because of its almost universal acceptance have become international peremptory norms from which there must not be derogation
Article 2
1. Each State Party to the present Covenant undertakes to respect and to ensure to all individuals within its territory and subject to its jurisdiction the rights recognized in the present Covenant, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
 . Each State Party to the present Covenant undertakes:
2. (a) To ensure that any person whose rights or freedoms as herein recognized are violated shall have an effective remedy, notwithstanding that the violation has been committed by persons acting in an official capacity;
3. (b) To ensure that any person claiming such a remedy shall have his right thereto determined by competent judicial, administrative or legislative authorities, or by any other competent authority provided for by the legal system of the State, and to develop the possibilities of judicial remedy;
4. (c) To ensure that the competent authorities shall enforce such remedies when granted.
Article 3
The States Parties to the present Covenant undertake to ensure the equal right of men and women to the enjoyment of all civil and political rights set forth in the present Covenant.
Article 7
No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment….
Article 9
1. Everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention. No one shall be deprived of his liberty except on such grounds and in accordance with such procedure as are established by law.
2. Anyone who is arrested shall be informed, at the time of arrest, of the reasons for his arrest and shall be promptly informed of any charges against him.
3. Anyone arrested or detained on a criminal charge shall be brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorized by law to exercise judicial power and shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to release. It shall not be the general rule that persons awaiting trial shall be detained in custody, but release may be subject to guarantees to appear for trial, at any other stage of the judicial proceedings, and, should occasion arise, for execution of the judgement.
4. Anyone who is deprived of his liberty by arrest or detention shall be entitled to take proceedings before a court, in order that that court may decide without delay on the lawfulness of his detention and order his release if the detention is not lawful.
5. Anyone who has been the victim of unlawful arrest or detention shall have an enforceable right to compensation.
Article 14
1.All persons shall be equal before the courts and tribunals. In the determination of any criminal charge against him, or of his rights and obligations in a suit at law, everyone shall be entitled to a fair and public hearing by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal established by law. The press and the public may be excluded from all or part of a trial for reasons of morals, public order (ordre public) or national security in a democratic society, or when the interest of the private lives of the parties so requires, or to the extent strictly necessary in the opinion of the court in special circumstances where publicity would prejudice the interests of justice; but any judgement rendered in a criminal case or in a suit at law shall be made public except where the interest of juvenile persons otherwise requires or the proceedings concern matrimonial disputes or the guardianship of children.
 Article 19  
1. Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference.
2. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.
Article 21
The right of peaceful assembly shall be recognized. No restrictions may be placed on the exercise of this right other than those imposed in conformity with the law and which are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, public order (ordre public), the protection of public health or morals or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others.
Article 22
1. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of association with others, including the right to form and join trade unions for the protection of his interests.
2. No restrictions may be placed on the exercise of this right other than those which are prescribed by law and which are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, public order (ordre public), the protection of public health or morals or the protection of the rights and freedoms of others. This article shall not prevent the imposition of lawful restrictions on members of the armed forces and of the police in their exercise of this right.
For full text, see
http://www.ohchr.org/en/professionalinterest/pages/ccpr.aspx International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
The Harper government should never have entered into an arms sale agreement with Saudi Arabia not only because of potential violations of international civil and political norms but also because of contravention of Canada’s own stated national policy; 
 Under Canada’s Export Control Handbook "the principal objective of export controls is to ensure that exports of certain goods and
technology are consistent with Canada’s foreign and defence policies. Among other goals, export controls seek to ensure that exports from Canada:
are not used to commit human rights violations"; 
Also Canada claims that the “Export Control List derives from Canada’s commitments to like-minded countries which participate in multilateral export control regimes or from Canada’s obligations as a signatory to multilateral or bilateral international agreements”. 
“In addition to compliance with the relevant law, the Export and Import Permits Act, exporters of goods and technology that are subject to export controls have a   conduct due diligence verifications of actual and potential foreign customers and to provide any relevant information in an export permit application.” 
In Conclusion, the Harper government has been willing to not only ignore international peremptory norms  related to the potential violation of civil and political rights but also to disregard its own Export Control handbook in the case of Saudi Arabia, the violation of civil and political rights in And also the Harper government has failed to exercise the due diligence verification on the possibility of these weapons might be transferred elsewhere. 
The Harper government should not  be lured into a sale of arms that would lead to its reluctance to sign and ratify the Arms control Convention, and its contravention of Canada’s stated policy. . 
Last Updated on Friday, 04 October 2019 06:54

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